Midweek Distractions 11/8/23: French Onion Soup & Drinking Like the French

Crock of French onion soup

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French onion soup is one of the classics of French cuisine, probably one of the first things you think of when talking about French food. But it seems like these days people are taking the concept of “French onion soup” well outside its liquid origins. Trader Joe’s recently launched a French Onion Focaccia, which I’m a pretty big fan of (though I wish it had more topping on it, as the bread lost its luster the second it started to cool down). Ali Slagle also developed a French Onion Grilled Cheese that has been all over my social feeds, reveling in slowly pulled-apart gooey food porn excess. And I even found a skillet chicken recipe inspired by French Onion Soup.

We’ve got our own dynamite recipe for French Onion Soup from Kate Christensen, if you’re looking for something to keep you warm this winter. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, you can try to make velouté d’ortie, or stinging nettle soup. (Caitlin did a newsletter a while ago on ways to cook with nettles.)

I myself am looking for ways to use up half a head of cabbage, which I bought to make pickled cabbage. Now I have two jars full and no idea what to do with all the rest. Is it time to figure out a recipe for French Onion Cabbage? If not, I may have to turn to Soupe au Choux, or French cabbage soup.

On an unrelated note, with the holidays coming up, many people will be looking forward to (or dreading) sharing a few glasses of wine with their families and friends at Thanksgiving and Christmas parties. I recently published this piece on French drinking culture that I hope dispels a few myths about how and what the French drink. I remember being told when I lived in France that the French all have this innate sense of moderation when it comes to drinking, that they never drink to get drunk, and so are free to enjoy their lunchtime glass of wine without reproval. Statistically, however, this isn’t exactly true, as the rising rates of youth hospitalization related to drinking became the impetus for France to raise its drinking age from 16 to 18 in 2009. This is just a reminder to stay safe out there, and remember that there are some great non-alcoholic wine options on our radar if you ever feel the need for a petite pause.

Things I found on the Internet…

Have you ever wondered what Macron’s favorite swear word is? Manet’s Olympia is coming to The Met in NYC… But not without some drama. If languages could move. And a very French fridge.

Catherine Rickman
Managing Editor, frenchly.us

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